Raising Men–The Task of a Father

•November 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My wife and I have been blessed with 3 wonderful boys. Hayden (8), Carson (6) & Harrison (2). We have now found out that we are being blessed (depending on who and boywhen you ask) with now a 4th boy (name undecided, which is a different story) who is due to be born on May 8, 2011 – Mother’s Day.

Honestly, my wife and I were hoping and praying for a girl. My wife has always wanted a girl and honestly, I wanted to have a daughter. We both felt led by the Spirit in all things involved in this 4th child and had hoped that this would be our girl. I mean come on, surely God wouldn’t deprive a loving Christian couple of a baby girl?! But as we all know, God has His plans for our lives that are sometimes different than our plans.

It’s a running joke around our family that our family is cursed to have boys. I have 4 brothers, and now will have 4 sons. In fact, down my family blood line, if you remove the 1 girl cousin that was conceived via IVF (so basing this stat on the “regular” method of conception), my boys are numbers 9, 10, 11 & now 12 straight down the family line!

With all of this, I have spent the last 24 hours praying and asking God for guidance and a little insight into why he said “no” to the prayer request for a girl. We know God can say no, but when it happens on something we care so dearly about, it opens up the door for doubt inside of us. Some will say that questioning God is wrong but I think it depends on the reasoning behind the question. For me, my “why” was out of a request for clarity on His plan. I love having boys and I am looking forward to meeting our 4th boy. I just wanted a glimpse into why God chose to give us 4 boys instead of 3 and 1 girl.

I received my answer last night.

“To raise Men”.

I thought back to the whole purpose originally behind this blog. Originally, this blog was about trying to help get men to become Men of God rather than men of the world. I have always held to the statement that men are what is wrong with this world today. Men can either lead or destroy their homes. Some people might find that statement sexist, and by the world view, it might be. In the reality of the light of God though, men are called to lead their homes and men are put into the position of authority by God (this is by no way demeaning to a Christian woman and in no way is meant to degrade women as a whole or singularly as their role in a Christian family is equally of importance). 

Statistically, there are more women who attend church then men. There are also more married women who attend church when their husband does not than the other way around. These are what a friend of mine recently referred to as the “spiritually single married women”.

Basically, this screams to the fact that men are falling down on the job. How can a family be guided without the father doing his role? So if the problem is men, the only solution can be God using Men.

Boys 2 Men

God has given me a 4th boy with the mandate of raising all 4 of them to be Godly Men who will marry Godly Women and from my 4 boys, bring 4 Christ centered families on to this world that so desperately needs it.

How about you? Have you ever asked God for the purpose He has intended by putting your children into your life?

Psalms 127:3-5 (HCSB)

3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, 
     children, a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior 
     are the sons born in one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
     Such men will never be put to shame 
     when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

 

Future of “men becoming Men” blog/group

•April 2, 2010 • 2 Comments

So the followers of this blog will have noticed that the blog has been silent for the past half year (or more).

The past year or so has been one of many trials, stresses and revelations. The original goal of “men becoming Men” was to be a “small group” / bible study for men. I firmly believe that the lack of God in the lives of men are the reason behind the problems in our society and more importantly, our families.

However, in the past year, my wife and I have been tested with an ongoing health mystery for her and an over burdensome of stress in life. Her doctor actually told her that she needed to lower her stress load. This means that I needed to increase my load in order to take it off of her. I do this lovingly and willingly, as a husband should.

While I can take the added stress, sadly I am not able to create more hours in the day. This became an issue for the group because the added load that I have taken on has had to occupy the time in my week that was originally devoted to this group and the men in it. As much as I loved having the group and honestly was very excited as it was just starting to really grow and take off, my obligation to my wife comes first and her needs outweighed the desire I had for the group.

Going Forward

I have spent the last several months contemplating what do to with this blog. I feel that letting it simply disappear would be a bad thing. So after much prayer and contemplation, I am going to continue at least the blog with its original mindset of teaching men how to become Men of God.

I know that one day, God will give me the ability to bring back the small group part of “men becoming Men”. Perhaps this whole situation is God’s way of revealing another important aspect of what it means to be a Man of God so that I can share it with others.

Regardless of what happens, I believe that men need to continue to learn from each other and their life experiences. I encourage men to get into good Christian relationships with Godly Men in order to promote further growth in Him. Through Him we can lead our families in a way that can change the lives of everyone they encounter.

In Him.

Dave

Group Reboot – October 2009!

•September 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Men,

As most of you know, I put the group on hold due to my own hectic work schedule. My business caters to school music (Band & Orchestra) and so the beginning of the school year means 60 hour weeks for 3 weeks with the 4th & 5th weeks usually falling into a period of controlled chaos before finally settling down to full normalcy. Well, today is day 1 of week 4.

I always learn something from this time of year. For 2009, the 3 that really stood out to me were:

Patience– dealing with the public, especially during the beginning of the school year requires patience. People don’t want to wait in lines. So when they think “no big deal, let’s go rent a saxophone” they are not expecting to walk in to a store with 50-100 people who thought the same thing!

Respect – my wife is a trooper. She is the Director of Preschool Ministry at Central. So she has a busy job normally. To top it off, Central also has the month at least leading up to “Kickoff Weekend” (which was this past weekend – hence the big tent outside the building) which requires a LOT of extra hours, hard work and planning leading up to it. But to add to her stress that was already peaking… she had to do it essentially as a single mom. She had to deal with all 3 of our boys (ages 7, 5 & 10 months) without me (since I was gone in the morning and didn’t come home until after they were already in bed) while maintaining a frantic schedule of her own. My wife is a blessing to me. Honestly, I think that during the past 3 weeks, she has the harder job than I do.

Health– I am not a health nut. Those who know me know that physical fitness is not my priority. However, the month leading up to my “busy season”, I agreed to go on a 30 day strict diet with my wife. The end result, loss of 17 pounds and I honestly made it through this busy season feeling better and more energetic than any previous year (I say this as I had Krispy Kreme and coffee for breakfast only an hour ago). Combine the principle of being a temple for the Lord and being a “good steward” of what He has given to us and I really have a feeling of conviction on my health. I have been exercising and eating better (overall – just not this morning) and trying to improve this aspect of my life.

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So the “men becoming Men” group will be relaunching in 2009. Whether you are planning on returning or joining for the first time, please let me know by emailing me at bobloblawvegas@gmail.com.

We will be starting off the first study of the season by mirroring the series that Central has just kicked off called “Lovestruck”. This is a study through the poetic book of Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). I love it when churches are willing to study through this book. The book is about the relationship between a man and a woman. It covers many of the issues that we all face in our own relationships from dating to respect, sex to arguments… and everything in between.

However, we are going to go through subjects that Central will likely not because of the nature of the text. Sex. This book has things in it that many will not find appropriate for weekly church services. However, we as men need to know what the Bible says about relationships between a man and a woman and all that it entails, including sex.

I am really excited about this study and hope that you are too.

We will likely start off this study on Wednesday October 14th (since Central has “First Wednesday” on the 7th). We usually start around 6:45-7:00 pm. If you need directions, please email me.

Forgiveness – Easier Said Than Done

•August 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Recently, the concept of forgiveness has been heavily on my mind. It has been an overwhelming and all encompassing presence. I have been feeling it strongly for the past year or so but in the past month I would say, it has been more so than ever.

As a Christian, we are told that we are to forgive. OK, sounds easy on paper. But what about in practicality? How quickly are we to forgive, who do we forgive and how easy is it really?

People naturally LIKE to hold on to their grudges. It’s human nature that when we are hurt by someone, we put up our defenses in every aspect of ourselves towards that person, as to protect who we are. But is this Biblical? When we do this, are we really forgiving them?

The Bible tells us that we are to forgive “just as the Lord has forgiven you” (Colossians 3:13). I have had people point out that this particular verse, based on the context of the rest of the passage and letter, is speaking towards fellow Christians. One could make the argument that this does not apply towards non-believers. If this were the only verse on forgiveness in the Bible, then I could understand that point. However, since the Bible never contradicts itself, we must interpret verses like this in context with the rest of the Bible’s teaching on the same topic as well as the context of the verse in the one book.

Luke 6:27 (HCSB)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Jesus speaking)

Matthew 6:14-15 (HCSB) – This is immediately after “the Lord’s prayer”
“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing,  your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” (Jesus speaking)

In these verses, Jesus Himself is teaching on forgiveness. Who better to take a lesson on forgiveness from than Jesus?! Jesus does not say here that we are only to forgive Christians. Instead, He tells us to forgive others the same way that He forgave us. This goes directly against typical human nature!

Here are a few quotes on the concept of forgiveness that show how some influential people view the concept of forgiveness:

“In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times 7. Well, I want you all to know that I’m keeping a chart.”Hillary Clinton

“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”John F. Kennedy

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”Martin Luther King, Jr.

What attitude do these 3 people have about forgiveness based on their quotes? The current Secretary of State has one of limited forgiveness accoring to this statement. A former President had the mentality of holding on to part of the grudge by “never forget(ing) their names”. Dr. King ties the ability to forgive with the ability to love.

None of these approaches are what the Bible teaches. Dr. King’s statement comes the closest to the general concept, but falls short of the fact that forgiveness is not tied to our own ability to love, but rather God’s ability to love and therefore forgive us and through His grace, giving us the example and ability to forgive.

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Forgiveness in man without God is impossible.
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Without Christ changing our hearts, our souls and our minds, we are unable to forgive like this because without the gift of forgiveness by the sheer grace of God, we are unable to even understand the concept of forgiveness.

So why has the concept of forgiveness been weighing on me so heavily? Why is it that I find myself tearing up while driving and listening to music about God’s grace for us? It really started when I started to contemplate writing my post “Enduring Tough Trials – The Unanswered Why” about a month ago. As you may or may not have read in my post, as a child, I was a victim of heinous crime that too many children are victim to.

Without Christ, I cannot by myself forgive what happened to me. Through Him, I can do anything, including forgive the person who wronged me so many years ago. While I still believe that he needs to face justice of the law of this world for his crimes, as a Christian, I have no other choice in me to forgive him. And to be honest, thanks to the grace of God, it really isn’t that hard to do!

When I talk to other people who have dealt with issues as heinous as this in their own lives, I ask them to keep this in mind… what if the person who did this to you has come to truly accept Christ? By the general nature of salvation, they (and you) are no longer the same person you were before Christ but rather a new person with new desires and a new heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.
  

We all sin. To God, all sin is sin and there is no degrees of sin. Through Christ, it is as easy to forgive any sin, no matter how severe this world judges the sin to be. Trust in the Lord with your own forgiveness. Just as the “Lord’s prayer” says,

Matthew 6:12 (HCSB)  
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Study Post (Ruth 3) – Dangerous Liaisons

•August 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

At the start of Chapter 3, we have the 2 main female characters, Naomi and Ruth, discussing this seemingly stagnate relationship between Ruth and Boaz. Naomi realizes that they need to take action if anything is going to happen. So like a good mother, she starts meddling…

Ruth 3:1-5 (NLT)
One day Naomi said to Ruth, “My daughter, it’s time that I found a permanent home for you, so that you will be provided for. Boaz is a close relative of ours, and he’s been very kind by letting you gather grain with his young women. Tonight he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor. Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.” 
“I will do everything you say,” Ruth replied.

Basically, she is telling her that Boaz has only seen you working. She was likely sweating, not done up, and totally scrubbed out. Her mother in law is basically saying “you stink, get a bath, put on your best stuff and show him that you are a hottie!” – Yes, that might be taking a little liberty in that translation but I think it makes the point. The rest of Naomi’s advice though could be quite dangerous. She tells Ruth to let Boaz party, eat, drink and fall asleep. Then, only after he is fully content, go and present yourself to him and he will tell you what to do!

This could be seen as very dangerous. The threshing floor is where the harvesters “thresh” their crop, separating the lighter weight outer husks of the barley from the usable grain. This is also usually a big party at the end of the harvest. They are living it up celebrating a successful harvest. The men would commonly sleep by the harvest that night to protect it. You would also find prostitutes ready to prey on the men’s portion of the harvest. So it could be seen that Naomi is telling Ruth to do the same thing that a prostitute would do. Now I don’t read it that way personally. I think that Naomi is trusting in God to provide as He has been doing for them recently and that she is trusting in the godliness of Boaz to do the right thing. She is really telling Ruth to go and get in Boaz’s way. For many of us men, this is what it takes for us to get up off our butts and get into the action of pursuing the women that God presents us with… I know it was for me.

So Ruth does as she is told and when Boaz has fallen asleep, she goes and wakes him up by uncovering his feet. Boaz is startled and immediately was asking who was there… probably assuming that it was a prostitute. Instantly, Ruth identifies that it is her and tells Boaz to “Spread the corner of your covering (blanket or cloak) over me, for you are my family redeemer”. The Hebrew word used here translated as “covering” (or cloak) is also used in Chapter 2 where Boaz is blessing Ruth. In that blessing, the word is translated as “wings” but done so in a way where he is stating that God will put her under his “wings” (or covering) of protection. So it could then also be said that Ruth is suggesting to Boaz that he fufil his own blessing wish on her and that Boaz is the one to fufil God’s protection over her.

There are some who will suggest that Ruth was suggesting an inappropriate sexual relationship here, but that is inaccurate. In those times, a man putting his “cloak” on a woman was a sign that the couple was engaged to be married. So really, what Ruth is suggesting here is that Boaz propose to her. This is not Ruth asking Boaz to marry her, but rather Ruth suggesting to Boaz that he propose marriage to her. Essentially… “Hey Boaz, are you going to propose to me or what?!”

Keep in mind that Boaz COULD have taken advantage of this situation. Ruth was completely ready to do whatever Boaz said. He could have taken advantage of her here. This is just another example for us as Men. We need to always act in accordance with the will of God. There are times when men profess to do something that is the will of God, but in reality they are doing something that is contrary to the Word of God.

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God’s Will never contradicts God’s Word
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Boaz goes on to reveal how blessed he feels by Ruth’s display. See, even as successful and Godly man, wealthy & respected, Boaz didn’t think that he was worthy of Ruth. He was an older man. He replies to her that she was showing more family loyalty then before (since she went within the “Kinsman Redeemer” concept of the Israelites, even though she was a Moabite). She chose him instead of going “after a younger man, whether rich or poor” (Ruth 3:10).

Boaz is more than happy and willing to marry Ruth, but he knows that he does not have the immediate redeemer role. There is another man who was a closer relative in the succession order of the redeemer tradition and Boaz must let him first have the chance to redeem Ruth (and Naomi). This further speaks to the character of Boaz. This other man has allowed Ruth and Naomi to live in the poorest conditions even though he should have redeemed them. Boaz though knows that he has to allow the other man his right. This is honorable.

Boaz promises Ruth that he will go and confront this other man in the morning. He is a man of action and was not going to let this sit and wait. He was going to take care of it right away! He WANTS to marry Ruth. So he will do everything in his power to take care of this right away.

Lastly, Boaz tells Ruth not to go right home but rather to stay with him for the rest of the night rather than going home at midnight. He was protecting her. Boaz got her up right before the sun arose and sent her home so that no one would recognize her. Had others found her lying at his feet on the threshing floor in the morning, they would have made the assumptions that would have destroyed her character and reputation.

But Boaz did one thing further. He sent her home with roughly 60 pounds of Barley. This was intended for Ruth to present to Naomi as proof that Boaz was going to take care of them. Naomi receives this gift and tells Ruth that they need to do nothing more because Boaz “won’t rest until he has settled things today”.

Boaz is one of the men in the Bible that we as Men of God should aspire to be like. Respectful, honorable, caring, a man of action, eager to do what is right… the list could go on for as long as this post!

Strive to be like Boaz.